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Zenith - Becoming a Dream(her)

Zenith Becoming a Dream(her)

Reaching for its own star, WorldTempus reviews the Zenith Defy Midnight, seeing the brand’s evolving notion of what women’s watches are and should become.

After the immense success of their El Primero anniversary year in 2019, Zenith opted to shift their focus to women during LVMH Watch Week in January 2020, presenting the new Defy Midnight collection. The brand also more recently doubled down on the collection, unveiling a new global campaign, the “Zenith DreamHers”, introducing us to fiercely independent and ambitious women who have dominated in their respective fields.

Décrocher son étoile

Defy midnight © WorldTempus/Joy Corthesy

Today, ladies’ timepieces present an interesting dichotomy in the watchmaking industry: as a category, it is both vast yet incredibly narrow, often populated with pink and romantic watches that, while feminine and certainly beautiful, really only serves a certain type of woman. With the Defy Midnight, Zenith opted for a more practical, modern route: a steel, everyday watch for a woman on the go, who has things to do and dreams to chase. I like to think of myself as one of those women, so I got my hands on a Defy Midnight, putting it through the paces of my on-the-go, dream-chasing ambitions.

Décrocher son étoile

Defy midnight © WorldTempus/Joy Corthesy

The Defy Midnight

Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case (available with or without a diamond-set bezel), the Defy Midnight comes in an array of different dial variations, including the one sent to me: a deep blue dial with a gradient effect to mimic a fading night sky. Embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds for the hour markers, the dial is also dotted with stars, a subtle reminder of the brand’s philosophy: “Time to reach your star”.

Décrocher son étoile

Defy midnight © WorldTempus/Joy Corthesy

While the Defy Midnight was conceived and marketed as a woman’s collection for the ground up, there’s nothing “flowery” about it. My first thought when wearing the Defy Midnight (on a steel bracelet) was that it’s a refreshingly solid watch. It feels sturdy and present on the wrist—nothing flimsy about its design or construction. The case, with its slight curve and mix of polished and satin-brushed finishes, looks straightforward and sporty. Wearing the Defy Midnight, it felt tried-and-true, unable to fail me or just fall off my wrist if I knock my hand on something (yes, this has happened before).

Décrocher son étoile

Defy midnight © WorldTempus/Joy Corthesy

Equipped with an in-house Elite movement, the Defy Midnight is dependable for both its precision and power reserve of 50 hours; something that I would entirely expect from a brand like Zenith, known for providing reliable and precise in-house movements. This workhorse of a caliber is visible through the sapphire caseback, as is the star-shaped oscillating weight (another reminder to reach your star!).

Final thoughts

What I responded to the most in the Defy Midnight during my time wearing it was Zenith’s overall approach to the watch (and their approach to women’s watches in general). There’s no fluff to it or pandering to our delicate feminine sensibilities. Take the diamonds away and this is a unisex watch; anyone with an affinity for sporty, steel watches with a reliable movement can wear it. Or leave the diamonds—diamond-set watches are becoming more common on men’s wrists after all.

Becoming a Dream(her)

Defy midnight © WorldTempus/Joy Corthesy

If anything, the Defy Midnight responds to the evolving notion of what women’s watches are and should become: modern, reliable and adaptable to our everyday circumstances. It’s an olive branch to the millennial woman—the dreamer breaking that glass ceiling (or flying by the already shattered glass), reaching for the stars.


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